Finding a place for dinosaurs and man has been a tough sell for Evangelicals, but do a couple of solutions offer themselves? No, not really.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association took some time off his gig attacking gays, Muslims and Jews to address the dinosaur problem. Dinosaur problem, you say? No, they’re not a problem for most of us. They once roamed the Earth and now they don’t. Extinct, don’t you see?
But for Religious Right types, they’re a big problem indeed, because they insist dinosaurs inhabited the earth at the same time as humans. Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a velociraptor, after all, didn’t he? But they really represent no problem at all, according to Fischer, because they were just 1,000 year-old reptiles. Reptiles, he has heard, continue to grow as long as they’re alive.
You see where this is going, of course.
“I’m thinking that could be the explanation for dinosaurs….they were just reptiles that lived for a thousand years and kept growing.”
This sort of denialism is not new. Ken Ham’s Creation Museum was trying back in 2012 to “take dinosaurs back,” just like they want to take back rainbows and even the whole damn country. “Dinosaurs have been held hostage for decades by secular humanists.”
Ah. A hostage situation. Maybe they can talk us into giving the dinosaurs back? Let’s see:
In the Old Testament, after all, Fischer tells us, people used to live for a thousand years (the average lifespan pre-Noah was 912 years) so there is no reason to believe lizards also didn’t have longer lifespans. Of course, first you have to accept that humans once lived to be a thousand, but for Fischer, that’s neither here nor there because Bible. “Don’t doubt this book,” he pronounces.
Take a gander courtesy of Right Wing Watch:
This reminds me of Pastor Brad Shockley who told viewers recently on his show, Let the Bible Speak, that he had figured out the whole dragon thing. Yes he did.
“We often have a difficult time convincing others this is the proper explanation. The creationist accepts the teaching of Genesis and teaches that dinosaurs were created on day 5 [and] day 6.”
Of course, humans were also created on Day 6. The problem of dinosaurs is that,
“Evolutionary doctrine on dinosaurs denies the Bible, creation, the existence of God and, by default, ultimately denies Jesus Christ is the son of God and our redeemer.”
Shockley admits that you don’t find the word “dinosaur” in the Bible, but he points to the Book of Job (yes, the same one where Satan is a good guy):
Job 41:21: Its breath kindles coals, and a flame comes out of its mouth.
Watch courtesy of Raw Story:
Presto! A Fire-breathing dragon. Your dinosaur problems solved, says Shockley.
Not really, no. The context is God bragging himself up to Job by listing his super-creations. At 41:1 God asks Job, “Can you draw out Leviathan with a fishhook?” My New Revised Standard Version says “the crocodile.” So we’re talking about crocodiles here, not dinosaurs.
Deadly, but then so are hippos. And they don’t breathe fire, of course. A little poetic license, perhaps?
But even if it were about dinosaurs and critters that swim but also breathe fire, where are they now? If ever they walked the Earth, they are extinct. This is an evolutionary issue and the Bible’s authors, knowing nothing of evolution, do not address it. The ancients, when they found dinosaur bones, assumed them to be the bones of a mighty race of titans or giants. It made all their own creation stories true.
As Robin Lane Fox writes in Travelling Heroes in the Epic Age of Homer (2008), “All around the Greek world, bones of the dinosaurs caused items from mythical ‘neverland’ to be discovered on the ground.”
Mythical neverland. Like 1,000 year-old lizards and fire-breathing crocodiles. Myths won’t make evolution false.
I am reminded also of a much more accurate theory, “Anne Elk’s Theory on Brontosauruses” which came to us via Episode 31 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, that,
“All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end. That is my theory, it is mine and belongs to me, and I own it and what it is, too.”
The host says, “Well, Anne, this theory of yours seems to have hit the nail on the head.”
Unlike Anne Elk, Fischer and Shockley have not hit the nail directly upon the head. The dinosaur problem doesn’t go away because they were just lizards who lived to be 1,000 year old or because the Bible describes a fire-breathing crocodile.
Their problem is that dinosaurs are extinct species. Where did they go? If it was just an issue of longevity, we would have little velociraptors running around, and baby ‘brontosauruses’ vying with deer for foliage. Hunting season would be much more interesting, to say the least.
But we don’t. They are gone. Extinct.
There is no evidence they walked with man, or were ridden by man, or that they were just lizards with longevity or breathed fire.
Everything is conveniently explained by science, but they’ve convinced themselves that accepting science precludes accepting the Bible as having any value at all. They’ve put themselves in a tough spot with this literalism thing. Evolve or die, as the saying goes.
Apparently, they’ve made their decision.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.